Combining Led Zeppelin and The Beatles

Mashups are a hit-or-miss proposition, with more misses than hits.  Here’s one that really hits, though, called “Whole Lotta Helter Skelter” by Soundhog. Originally released as an audio track on SoundCloud, Soundhog recently created a video for this mashup. You can download this track from Soundhog’s blog.

Clearly Led Zeppelin and the Beatles are a potent combination. In a somewhat different vein, one of the greatest tribute/parody performances occurred when the Beatnix set the lyrics of “Stairway to Heaven” to Beatlemania-era Beatles music for the Australian television show The Money or the Gun. Each week on this program, which ran on ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that is) from 1989 to 1990, a different artist would perform “Stairway to Heaven” in a unique style. Over the course of the show’s run, two performers combined “Stairway to Heaven” with the Beatles. The Beatnix, a Beatles tribute band that formed in 1980, drew on “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (with a little “She Loves You” thrown in for good measure) in the first section, before a rousing “Twist and Shout” conclusion, while Robyne Dunn performed her rendition of “Stairway to Heaven” in the style of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Robyne Dunn’s version is interesting, but the version by the Beatnix is truly inspired. Both of these tracks are included on the compilation Stairways to Heaven, which features the best “Stairway to Heaven” performances from The Money or the Gun. The original Australian (ABC Music) version of this compilation contained 22 of the performances, but it’s much harder to find than the version of Stairways to Heaven released by Atlantic Records in 1995, which was edited down to 12 tracks.

I got to wondering if Led Zeppelin had ever covered a Beatles song, and it turns out that Zep did give a nod to the Fab Four on at least one occasion. In concert Led Zeppelin often played extended versions of their songs that included long interludes with medleys of covers. Playing at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on September 4, 1970, Led Zeppelin included “I Saw Her Standing There” (or at least the lyrics, anyway) in a medley in an extended version of “Communication Breakdown.” The bootleg album Led Zeppelin Live on Blueberry Hill comes from this concert.

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